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Oregon State falls to VCU, 75-67

Gary Payton II

UPDATE

Oregon State fell to VCU 75-67 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday.


LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

Apparently all it takes for Oregon State to reach the NCAA Tournament is to have a Gary Payton on the roster.

Oregon State will play its first NCAA Tournament game since 1990 when the Beavers face VCU at Oklahoma City. That 1989-90 Oregon State team featured Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton.

Payton's son, Oregon State senior Gary Payton II, is the only Division I player to average at least 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Payton said his dad will attend Friday and has given him some advice on what to expect.

"He just told me just to play my game, don't let everything outside the court get to me," Payton said. "It's going to be a little crazy, a little havoc just because our program hasn't been here in a while and we're getting back here for the first time. So he said just treat it like a regular game, any other ordinary game."

CALIFORNIA FACING DISTRACTIONS

One of the most intriguing issues in Friday's NCAA Tournament action is how California will respond after two major losses in the last few days.

California fired assistant coach Yann Hufnagel on Monday for violating the school's sexual harassment policy and lost its leading scorer when Tyrone Wallace broke his right hand in practice.

The 23rd-ranked Golden Bears face Hawaii at Spokane, Washington.

"It's been a rough week for the team and everything," California guard Jabari Bird said. "But we have had up-and-downs throughout the whole entire year, so it's nothing new for us. The main thing is putting it behind us and focusing on (Friday's) game."

The Golden Bears announced Thursday that Wallace is expected to miss three to five weeks, which would keep him out for the remainder of the season. Wallace averages 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

The Hufnagel firing could have bigger long-term implications. California announced Wednesday that it is reviewing whether head coach Cuonzo Martin correctly handled the allegations against Hufnagel.

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